Saturday, March 19, 2016

British born mother, 34, who used to work in finance is jailed for five years after trying to take her two children to live in Raqqa under ISIS

  • The woman, 34, told her husband she was taking the children to a party
  • Boarded a flight to Istanbul instead and was stopped by Turkish authorities
  • Left her finance job in August as it was 'inconsistent' with her beliefs 
A British-born mother-of-two who tried to take her children to Syria to live under ISIS has been jailed for five years.

She wished to live under strict Sharia law and believed such a regime could only be found where ISIS imposed control, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The 34-year-old was born in the UK, spent her early childhood in Pakistan and returned to England when she was a teenager.

She became increasingly religious and gave up her job in finance in August last year, indicating it was 'inconsistent' with her religious beliefs.

The mother abducted her children in October last year, when she told her husband she was taking her children to a party and boarded a flight to Istanbul instead.

Her intention was to travel to Raqqa but she was stopped by Turkish authorities in Istanbul and returned to the UK after her husband and parents contacted the police.

She was carrying passports and £4,000 in cash.

The woman pleaded guilty to two counts of child abduction, relating to her two children, who were both under 16.

Sentencing the woman to five years and four months in jail, Judge Rodney Jameson QC said: 'You were determined to take them to Raqqa in Syria

'Raqqa is, and was in October 2015, the epicentre of a war zone. Further, it was, and presently remains, under the control of ISIS.

'It is said on your behalf that you do not support much of what ISIS do. It is not easy to reconcile this submission with the assertion that you believe that Sharia law is only enforced properly by ISIS.

'In any event, the nature of the regime imposed by ISIS in Syria is clear. It is beyond dispute that ISIS enforce their will by the use of extreme force. Such force routinely includes mutilation, rape and murder. You are an intelligent and well-educated woman, you knew this.

'The fate of your children would have been either to have subscribed, fully and actively, as we have all seen in the appalling use of a young child in an ISIS propaganda video in recent days, to such behaviour, or to have suffered it themselves.' 

Judge Jameson added: 'You believed that taking the children to Syria to live under ISIS control was necessary to secure their spiritual salvation.'

'This was a terrible betrayal of your responsibilities to your children and of their trust in you.'
The judge said the woman told police she had intended to move on from Raqqa to Mosul, in Iraq.

'You must have known that it was almost certainly impossible for them to have left Raqqa once there and, in any event, Mosul, also under ISIS control, was a scarcely less dreadful destination for your children,' he said.

A pre-sentence report stated that the woman continued to hold on to her beliefs and underestimated the seriousness of her behaviour.

Judge Jameson said the mother currently posed a significant risk to the children, including seeking to radicalise them or, upon release, attempting to abduct them again.

Joanne Shepherd, defending, said the woman did not intend to cause any harm to her children. 
The woman, who sat in the dock wearing a black hijab, smiled as Judge Jameson passed two concurrent sentences of five years and four months.

He told her she would serve half of the sentence before being released on licence. 

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